It is often said that we know less about our oceans than we do our solar system, what is more amazing is that we know less about our soil under our feet than we do the surface of the moon.
In order to broaden my knowledge last week I attended a field lab on Soil analysis, which looked at different approaches to soil analysis and comparing them. As growers we are faced today with various methods and approaches to assess the fertility and health of our soils, and new methods are being continuously developed.
The newspapers this week have been full of articles about how a group of Sussex wine producers, including Rathfinny, are drawing up a proposal for a PDO. So what is a PDO and why are Rathfinny so keen about a PDO for Sussex?
“A Protected Designation of Origin (PDO): is open to products which are produced, processed and prepared within a particular geographical area, and with features and characteristics which must be due to the geographical area.”
There are various examples of PDOs in England such as Cornish Pasties, Clotted Cream and Jersey Royal potatoes. Champagne is a PDO, and other wine regions across Europe have established PDO status to protect the producers within specified geographical regions.
PDOs are “EU Protected Food Name schemes” that “highlight(s) regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed.” They are designed to promote and protect names of quality agricultural products and foodstuffs across Europe.
There are signs that Spring has arrived with groups of snowdrops at the foot of the trees on the Tye in Alfriston. We are celebrating its arrival with some fabulous new products and a luxury beauty event.
Sarah and Georgia have been hard at work sourcing new products for the Gun Room. Our aim is to bring aspects of the Sussex countryside into our shop, so that our products reflect the changing seasons, our natural resources and activities on the Estate.
As the weather warms up and birds begin to nest, we are stocking Magpie’s Birdy range which includes mugs, plates, tea towels, wash bags and an espresso set for the grown-ups, and some lovely suitcases for young children, all featuring robins, thrushes, blue tits and wagtails. For keen gardeners we have some beautifully designed products from Burgon and Ball.